Guys and Dolls

RICHARD PARR Dereham Memorial Hall


The talented cast and first-rate presentation of this famous show, Guys and Dolls from Dereham Operatic Society at the Memorial Hall made it a winner on its gala opening night – you bet!

With some well-drawn colourful over-the-top characters and accomplished singing from principals and chorus, this was an Ace card show in every aspect.

Director Barbara Mews and musical director Mark Checkley can be congratulated on a show which zipped along at a pulsating pace, the slick scene changes in New York's Broadway switched from one to another like a kaleidoscope.

But it was a show that has a great feel good factor and the cast exploited this to the full.

Jill Everett as Miss Adelaide was a joy to watch as the rather dizzy, long-suffering fiancee of Nathan Detroit. Reminiscent of actress Dora Bryan, her lively stage presence endeared her to the audience from her first appearance.

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She was wonderful in many of the musical numbers making the best of her largely comic role, particularly in A Bushel and a Peck with the Hot Box nightclub girls.

Miss Everett was well cast opposite David Rees as her reluctant husband-to-be Nathan Detroit, the compulsive gambler, mainstay of the notorious crapshooters gambling underworld.

Mr Rees gave a wonderfully over-the-top performance as Nathan making the best of some great comic one-liners.

Providing a second love interest was the effective partnership of Sky Masterson and Sally Army girl Sarah Brown. Nick Bird, with a strong stage presence and powerful voice, was perfectly cast as the gambler whose life is transformed when he meets Miss Brown.

Mr Bird and the lovely singing of Miss Campbell made a convincing couple with some wonderful duets including I've Never Been in Love Before.

Supporting the principals were some strong roles notably Martyn Rolfe as Nicely-Nicely Johnson , Andy Lofthouse as Benny Southstreet , Chris Carroll as Harry the Horse and Tony Wilds as the wonderfully caricature, Big Jule.

Stylish and colourful 1940's costumes, an impressive set and dazzling dance routines choreographed by Olga Barry contributed to the overall effect.

From the outset, the cast were on a roll with everyone giving their all to create a diamond of a show.

Guys and Dolls continues nightly until Saturday when there is also a matinee. Move heaven and earth to see it.